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*Franciscan Focus on Justice
*Franciscan Focus on Peace
*Franciscan Focus on Creation
*What Would Francis Do? (Photos)
*Franciscan Simple Living
*Discussion Starters
*Reflection Questions
*A Franciscan Look at Fair Trade
*Regional JPIC Photos
*In Brief: Books & the Arts

To the Point

"When Jesus predicted His disciples would always have the poor with them, He didn’t mention they would be invisible--unseen, unheard and unthinkable in the political arena." --The Catholic Register

On average, it costs $25,083/year for a low-income family of four in the U.S. to cover basic housing, food, utilities, transportation, health care, and child care. An adult who works 40 hours a week at minimum wage will make only $15,080 annually.

"The Christian can wholeheartedly support the cause of personal liberty, but only while supporting the cause of the common good with equal measure." ~Tim Suttle

Paul Hawken, in his book Blessed Unrest, found that there are over two million organizations working for social and environmental justice.

"Our Franciscan tradition has always seen creation as 'the first Bible,' which had a 14.5-billion-year lead on the written Bible." ~Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

June 2019
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Regional Appolntees

Web Animator:
Mike DePue, OFS
JPIC Coordinator:
Mike DePue, OFS

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img s.gifJustice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation
St. Clare Region, OFS
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FrancisWeb2.jpgSecular Franciscan Social Teaching and Witness:
Changing Our Hearts During This Season and Throughout the Year

Catholic social teaching, sometimes referred to as the social doctrine of the Church, is a body of official Church teachings on the social order, composed of papal statements and conciliar or synodal documents. These social teachings originated with Pope Leo XIII and continue to the present.

The Catholic social tradition, however, is much older than this body of teachings, and is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures as well as in the patristic writings, which go back as far as the fifth century. This tradition provides a framework and an intellectual legacy from which the more recent (dating from the nineteenth century) social teachings draw. This tradition is a point of reference against which the social teachings are tested, even as the latter develop beyond the tradition by applying it to new issues and questions.

Catholic social teaching is rooted in the dignity of the human person as created in the image of God, and the human rights and duties that protect and enhance this dignity. Catholic social teaching is also concerned with the social nature of the human person, the concept of the common good, the relationship between society and the state, the theory of justice, an "option for the poor," and the concepts of subsidiarity and solidarity.

--Marywood University

Stand with Others 

The following messages call for commitment and concern. Could you, your fraternity, and your parish prayerfully consider acting on them?

From Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Action Alerts:
Gun manufacturing and sales is big business in the United States--surprisingly big business. America is the global leader in terms of gun ownership. There are nearly 9 guns for every 10 Americans, outstripping Yemen, which ranks second in the world. Take action on the proliferation of guns. Visit: Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence

From the Sisters of St. Francis (Clinton):
"In the past decade, Congress has spent $117 billion of taxpayer dollars on immigration enforcement initiatives, yet the number of unauthorized immigrants in the country has grown to 11.2 million. Now some in Congress are calling for the mandatory expansion of E-Verify (the largely voluntary program which allows employers to electronically verify workers' employment eligibility with Government databases). The problem is that unless E-Verify's expansion is undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, it will hurt U.S. workers and our already weakened economy. Justice for Immigrants / US Conference of Catholic Bishops urges us to let our members of Congress know that unless and until the E-Verify program is improved and undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, it will hurt U.S. workers and our already weakened economy. Justice for Immigrants urges us to let our members of Congress know that unless and until the E-Verify program is improved and undertaken in the context of comprehensive immigration reform, we oppose its expansion and mandatory implementation."

From National NAFRA JPIC Monthly Update, Dec. 2012:
"Beginning in January and ending in October, the JPIC Commission will provide an update, action statement or personal reflection that speaks to the Statement to the presidential candidates. It is the hope of the JPIC Commission that the update will benefit local and regional fraternities in meeting their obligation to be courageous in our initiative for pursuing justice. Information will be distributed by the middle of the preceding month in order for JPIC Animators for the regional fraternities and other fraternity leaders to receive it and determine how it might be incorporated into fraternity activities for the month in question.

Lori Ferris, OFS: 'I became interested in human trafficking many years ago after watching a movie dealing with the subject. I did not follow up on that interest until recently. I have daughters aged 8 and 13 and I am scared for their safety as we learn more and more about how trafficking in human lives works. You may think this sounds strange coming from little old Muscatine, IA, I thought so too. Surprise!! Muscatine police recently broke up a drug and prostitution ring that involved young women who had been trafficked. Also, we are about 20 miles from the world's largest truck stop and transfer station for human trafficking. Our local truck stop has been taken over by the Eastern European mob who shamelessly run truckloads of young men and women through the I-80 corridor to whomever has ordered them. This has changed the way I feel about semi trailers sitting by the side of the road near the truck stop, that I now know might be full of humans waiting to be taken to the next stop. The young women who are most vulnerable are those between the ages of 11-13. For this reason alone, I need to do something so my daughters and yours can feel safe wherever they are."

A number of agencies and organizations are stepping up to meet this challenge! Here are just a couple: US Conference of Catholic Bishops Anti-Trafficking Program and Catholic Charities.

From the School Sisters of Notre Dame:
"A Congressional bill has been introduced that would repeal $113 billion of tax breaks, handouts, and subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies over the next 10 years. That's enough money to weatherize more than half the single family and mobile homes in America. Please add your name to the list of Americans supporting the End Polluter Welfare Act by clicking here to find out what you can do.

The Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act(S.1533) addresses a systemic cause of poverty--the fact that many multinational corporations don’t pay taxes to the developing governments that need the revenue most. Between 2000 and 2008, $6.5 trillion left the developing world completely untaxed. If this money would have been taxed modestly, we wouldn’t be facing a global debt crisis and there would be better access to food in the poorest countries. Poor countries become trapped in cycles of borrowing because corporations keep more profits for themselves by avoiding paying taxes in these countries. A key way this legislation curbs tax avoidance is by requiring country-by-country reporting of corporate payments to governments. The Senate bill includes specific provisions to combat offshore tax abuses. This is good legislation that also has positive impacts for us in the United States, curbs corruption globally and gives us the information we need to start addressing global corporate tax avoidance. When you write your Senators to cosponsor the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act (S. 1533), you join a global voice that believes the chains of poverty should be broken.

Discussion Starters

(Secular Franciscan fraternities could find these useful for ongoing formation.)

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now. Love mercy now. You are not obligated to complete the work. Neither are you free to abandon it.” ~The Talmud

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.” ~Mother Teresa

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” ~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

~More Discussion Starters can be found here.~

 Reflection Questions

What could I be doing to help my parish (fraternity, place of work, club, etc.) use less and recycle more?

Sr. Helen Prejean calls capital punishment "America’s desire for legalized vengeance.” Why does she think Americans want such vengeance? Is such vengeance, in itself, morally acceptable?

Do you think the death penalty provides closure for the victim’s family? Why or why not?

“Mercy preserves our own lives and keeps [them] from deteriorating and moving into hatred and bitterness." (Sr. Helen Prejean) Do you think mercy has this power?

Are there things people can do to bring themselves to be forgiving?

~More Reflection Questions can be found here.~


Challenges and Initiatives

Our Founder and our times call us to action. Yet what can a single Secular Franciscan or fraternity do to make a difference? Here are just a few things (many from the 2011 Collated Report from the Regions) that individuals and fraternities throughout the country are doing!

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